Motorbiking…

One drunken new years eve a couple of years ago, I was ‘persuaded’ to learn to ride a motorbike. It was the first time in a long time that I had needed to learn a new lifeskill outside of work. How hard could it be? Humph.

The process to get a bike licence in the EU is that getting a licence is a 4 step process. Do the Compulsory Bike Training (then you can ride up to a 125cc on the roads with L plates). Passing this gives you 2 years to take your full licence. The remaining steps(each of which has to be passed before you can proceed)  are to take your Motorbike Theory Test, take an off road handling test on the bike of your choice, then a 40 minute test on the roads.

I got my full licence about a year ago and since then I have been having a lot of fun riding. I bought a Honda CB500X and have been thoroughly enjoying it. I wished I had learned to ride sooner. Last summer I took a trip over to Ireland to see a friend who lives down in Dingle, Southwest Ireland, July 2016 and had a fabulous time.

I’ve added some bits and pieces to the bike and have just started to record my outings, searching the highways and byways to find interesting places/roads. Anyway, these are the first 2 efforts.

A cross country ride through the rolling Hampshire hills Cross Country Ride South Warnborough to Hatch and Ride down to Loomies Biker Café. I’m getting to grips with the technology. It would be really helpful to gain feedback and maybe subscribers…

Thanks for Reading..

 

It’s been a while – the times they are a changing

What a start to the year. My daughter delivered us a second grandchild in early February. Since our abortive attempt to sell the house back in the summer (post-BREXIT poll), we have had a lot of work done on the house. We’ve decided to take a break for a couple of months to get our second wind, then start round 2.

The winter weather hasn’t been particularly condusive to going out for rides (I learnt my lesson last year when I came off on black ice – very painful). Now the weather is improving, I have been able to get out and test my new toys for this year, a helmet cam and mic – essential with the quality/attitude of road users here in the UK. I had a very enjoyable outing to a biker cafe in Hampshire, called Loomies – here’s a short video for anyone that’s interested – Ride down to Loomies

Nothing really to report on the Coeliac front. The availability of products (at a price) in the mainstream supermarkets continues and since legislation in the UK Parliament, eating out is a lot easier. I do wish that restaurants wouldn’t drop a 3 inch thick ring-binder in front of me for ME to check what I can eat. The more forward thinking restaurants either flag options on their menu, or even better have a completely separate menu – YAY.

Hope you’re having a good start to the year. Thanks for reading

Dingle, Southwest Ireland, July 2016

I have a friend who moved out to Dingle to look after his parents who have now sadly died. I had promised to go over and visit him. When I retired from IBM last year, one of my bucket list items was to get a motorbike licence, which I achieved in February 2016. I decided to take the bike over on the ferry to have my first overseas biking experience.

I decided to go from Fishguard to Rosslare(using Stena Line) as the closest (and easiest) route. So my route was pretty much straight down the M4 and keep going to Fishguard, a distance of about 230 miles. My sailing was at 2:30am, so left around 8pm and had a steady drive. The journey to Fishguard was mostly ok (I did have a 45 minute detour as the westbound M4 was closed near Newport), but thankfully I arrived in plenty of time. Their was a spectacular thunderstorm just as I arrived in Fishguard.

I paid for Stena Plus, which is a bit like an airline executive lounge. It was a pleasant discovery that they had some Ilumi Gluten Free options. They did a good job of securing my bike and I was pretty much the first off the ferry in Rosslare. We arrived at 6:30 to a thich sea fog over the port. I had to keep stopping to clear my visor and glasses! Once I was a little way away from the port the fog cleared.

At my first break, the cloud cleared and I had my first good view of the Irish Countyside

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I refuelled (both machine and body) and headed pretty much West through some lovely villages and towns. The fact that I could switch the GPS and the Bike Dash to Km made things much easier. The countryside was breathtaking in places, just beautiful in others.

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I arrived at my friends house (about 6Km from  Dingle) around 12:30pm, having travelled 322 Km .  Here’s the view from his front garden…

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The hills on the other side of Dingle Bay in the distance are part of the ‘Ring of Kerry’. Very close to my friends house is a bridge reputed to be the oldest bridge in Ireland…Garfinny Bridge(although their seem to be several such claims in different parts of the country).

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Their were a number of things on my things to do list during my visit. Travel a section of the Wild Atlantic Way . Visit the Conor Pass as well as some of the small towns and villages in the area. For the first few days the Conor pass was cloud bound (its 410m high), but late one afternoon, the cloud cleared so we hightailed it to the summit. Here’s the view looking toward Dingle (middle of the picture).

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Here’s the view looking the other way, toward Mount Brandon/CastleGregory..

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Absolutely stunning… We also had a drive around Slea Head, a small section of the Wild Atlantic Way. Again the weather was kind and the views were stunning…looking toward the Ring of Kerry across Dingle Bay..

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We stopped at a small cafe at Coumeenole in the sunshine and had a great view of the Blasket Islands.

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We went out with the local hill walking group and did a short (4 hour!) walk along the Dingle Way up to Coumeenole, starting from the Stonehouse carpark. Beautiful scenery, an elevated position meant a different viewpoint…A nice elevated view of Slea Head and the Blasket Islands

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This was the view as we returned to the start…

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We also had a trip down to Inch for a walk along the beach. The sand is very soft, very flat and very white…the sky reflecting off the water caught my eye..

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And looking back toward Dingle

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As you can hopefully see, Dingle and the South West of Ireland is fabulous. Dingle is a pretty,  small town which does get inundated with tourists.. their are lots of bars, most with live music most evenings.As a destination for my first trip it was a great success. The bike performed well, no major problems and the weather in general was kind (well apart from the trip home from Fishguard, where I had torrential rain and high winds pretty much all the way home). I will be going back to explore more the Wild Atlantic Way… Thanks for reading.

 

A grand day out!

After yesterday evenings sunset (see previous post), I had  a day booked out to clock up some miles on my new motorbike. Getting a full licence was one of the things I had on my to-do list for when I retired. I passed the 4th and final part of the test on 10th February.

For the motorbike minded, I have a Honda CB500X which I am enjoying immensely. Anyway, the plan for today was to ride down to the coast and visit a couple of my favourite south coast towns. Its slightly early – as you will see from the pictures, a lot of the attractions have yet to open – that will happen this coming Easter weekend.

When I set off, it was grey cloud and didnt bode well. However by the time I parked up in Hayling Island, the sun was out!

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The Isle of Wight could be seen very clearly across the deserted car park(on the right hand horizon). At the weekend, weather permitting, the view would be much different.. cars everywhere. DSCN1764

After a snack, the mandatory selfie.. the sun was very bright!

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Anyway, the second stop on my outing was 50km east, a small town called Littlehampton. Again, mostly closed, but will be heaving come next weekend, weather permitting.

Here’s a view East along the promenade….nice perspective….

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And the view West to the coastguard lookout..

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Finally.. the mostly deserted beach….

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I love seaside resorts outside of the main season – you get a feel for the type of place they really are. Hope you enjoyed.. thanks for reading..

Its been a while .. just what have I been up to?

Its been a while since I posted… since I left my previous employer, life seems to have been very busy. I honestly don’t know how I found the time to work! Things are ticking along from a Gluten-Free/Coeliac perspective. I am still trying to find a real, physical space that I could use to open a shop in, but the costs are prohibitive at the moment. Oh and I have offered my services to Coeliac UK as a governor – waiting to hear what the next steps on that will be. BTW.. if anyone out there knows of an eatable recipe for GF Dumplings I’d love to hear from you! All my attempts have failed miserably so far.

Learning to ride a motorbike. Well the good news is that I passed the theory test. The weather was against me back in February, so its on the agenda to be revisited in April, when hopefully the weather will be kinder. I still plan to be on the road as a fully licenced ‘Biker’ by late summer.

My trip ‘Up North’ is all booked up for me to do the Lyke Wake Walk the day before MidSummers Day (Scary thought eh as we are in early March!).

Finally I am still working on getting my consulting business going – lots of potential.. but its all just potential at the moment.

Have a great week.

Thanks for reading,.